Halley Diary — October 2006

31 October, 2006

October is a busy month here at Halley. We have many winter trips going on and a lot of other stuff to have the base ready for the summer season, which will be upon us before we know it. We see our first 24hr daylight, which will carry on to Feb, and our first flight of the summer with the arrival of the Basler plane.

The month got off to a colourful start with a drag night party. This was chosen by Julius (Zais) as a Birthday theme and was well represented by both sexes.

As Zplumber I have the unenviable task of looking after the melt tank and pipe work that runs through the tunnels which serve the tank itself and the Simpson platform heating. Also the cold feed back to the main platform from the tank. Occasionally, in their efforts to fill the tank up, sometimes the odd shovel is lost down the chute and I have to retrieve it by fishing it out with the aid of a magnet. A water level switch is also in the tank so when the level is right it turns a red light on the surface to let you know you can stop digging (a very welcome sight).

The Met Babes (Andy, Frances & Kirsty) are still on standby for possible blimp flights this month (Science never stops). The blimp is tethered to two winches and is run up around 500m. Two sondes hang from the tether line; they measure the amount of ozone in the local air as well as general meteorological values. The ideal conditions for these flights can occur at any time in the day, and for any duration, so on occasions the event has ended by the time we have got the blimp all ready to fly. The blimp tent was taken down at the end of the month as the period of observations had expired.

The first field trip of the month was Sledge Golf/Gladioli/Gnome -: Anto (Zvehicle), Frances, Nicola (Zchef) and Simon (Zga).

“We started our holiday with a much loved Penguin trip, and then a day ice climbing with the Penguins looking on, and then another visit to the Penguin colony. Penguins are brilliant!!! The MacDonald Ice Rumples were next on the itinerary spending a few days tent bound there and getting a quick hike to High Point in before moving once again, this time to Creek 2 caboose. A few dozen bridge games later we were doubled out and back to base. A lovely break had by all.”

During a break between trips Simon & Vicki (Zdoc) went off to the new Halley VI site to obtain a GPS position of the AWS (automatic weather station) as it is in the centre of the new base.

Second trip was Sledge Happy -: Mark (Zelec), Dave (Zcomms), Vicki and of course Simon.

“We decided to head straight to the Rumples and spent five days camping there. We abseiled into a couple of crevasses, after Vicki tried to fall into one of them (twice), and spent a couple of days walking around looking at the scenery. Then we moved to the Creek 2 caboose, and had a great day on Dave’s birthday, walking from creek 2 to creek 6 on the sea ice. We met three penguins on the way, who had obviously come to wish him a happy birthday. Towards the end of the trip, we had a few days with no contrast, so we couldn’t go out, and we spent our time playing backgammon and cards instead. It was great to get away for a few days. The first shower feels good when you get back though.”

Also this month we had the Z50th Birthday of the base. Modern technology allowed us to communicate via web cam and conference phone with the revellers in Northampton. It was good to talk to some of the old FIDS who were here since the start of Halley and others from years gone by. A very successful and enjoyable night for all.

Third trip was Sledge India -: John (Zbc), Chris (Zpace) myself and yep Simon.

Our trip was delayed for a day because of bad weather and we managed to leave next day. We got to windy caboose and then went down to see the penguins. Following day we had a walk across the sea ice to try and find where the penguins access to the water was but had no luck. We then spent 3 days in the caboose with winds up to 50knots sitting playing bridge and reading books. The weather never looked like getting better so we decided to come back to base and spend the rest of our holiday here hoping for a break in weather and possibly a day trip somewhere but it wasn’t to be.

The 4km marker was also raised as it is the first marker for the planes run up to the skiway, which was done by Bob (Zgen), Liz (Zchippy) and Julius who then went on a day trip with Kirsty to see the penguins.

The Skiway was laid out by John, Anto, Alex (Zdata) and Fran for the arrival of the Baslar plane that arrived on the 31st.They arrived at 4 45am and were invited to an early breakfast before we helped them fuel the plane and fly off to Novo. They also left us fresh fruit & veg that were very welcome.

That’s about it for this month. Hope you enjoyed the read and pictures. Lots of love to all at home from all of us down here.

Brian Hunter

Words of trips from each group.